Category Archives: Dystopian Books

YA Dystopian Spotlight and Author Interview: The Living and The Dead by Sara Furlong-Burr @Sarafurlong


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YA/Dystopian


the living and the dead

Dying is optional.
Living is forbidden.

The year is 2111, and scientists have discovered how to cheat death by extracting memories, thoughts, and personality traits from the dying, methodically implanting them into artificial bodies. At the time, it seemed too good to be true, never having to lose anyone to illness or time, and maybe it was.

Rejected as being nothing more than imposters of the living, the dead are shunned by society. Their families, friends, and neighbors, having grown to fear them, erected walls around their cities to keep them out. Over time, those cities were replaced with colonies overseen by governors to keep order.

At seventeen, Zaila Lockhart has only known isolation. Isolation from the world that extends both outside and inside her colony. As the daughter of the unpopular governor, she is the target of resentment, especially now that resources are becoming more scarce, since all trade between the colonies has been interrupted by a group marauders. Starvation seems imminent, and a war between the living and the dead over much-needed provisions looms on the horizon.

In search of food and other supplies, Zaila takes it upon herself to secretly venture outside her colony’s walls. Joined by Pax Muldoon, her only friend, the pair are ambushed by a group of scavengers. Identified as being the governor’s daughter, Zaila is brought back to the scavengers’ base in a city occupied by both the dead and their living sympathizers.

Zaila thought she knew everything there was to know about her captors, that the history being taught in the colonies was rooted in fact. But some lessons are better learned outside the classroom, where the living have grown to fear life, and the dead are the only ones truly living.

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Excerpt:

Down the hall, the sound of doors opening and closing sent chills down my spine. Pax wrapped his arm around my trembling body and held me close to him, partly to comfort me and partly for his own comfort. “Get your knife ready,” he whispered.

“One step ahead of you.” The knife rested in my unsteady hand, ready for the action I’d hoped it would never have to see.

We held our breath when the footsteps left the neighboring room and approached ours. Through a small gap between the closet door and the door frame, a small grey glow appeared in the room, followed by footsteps that were suddenly rendered mute by the carpeted floor. More frightened than I could ever remember, I closed my eyes, willing the being to go away. But instead of heeding my prayer, the sound of boots on carpet continued to pulsate in my eardrums, narrowly beating out the sound of my own heartbeat.

And then the steps came closer, the glow more evident until it stopped. Too terrified to move, we remained still, even when the closet door began to open.


About the Author:

sara furlong

Sara “Furlong” Burr was born and raised in Michigan and currently still lives there with her husband, two daughters, a high-strung Lab, and three judgmental cats. When she’s not writing, Sara enjoys reading, camping, spending time with her family, and attempting to paint while consuming more amaretto sours than she cares to admit.

You can learn more about Sara at http://sarafurlongburr.blogspot.com, follow her on Twitter via @Sarafurlong, and read more of her ramblings via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EnigmaBlackKindle.


Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? You’re very welcome. My journey started about eight years ago. I’d had this idea for a dystopian trilogy involving superheroes in my head for several years and finally decided to begin writing it down, just to get the story out of my mind. In 2012, I decided to publish it (Enigma Black) on Amazon and was ecstatic when it was selected as a Kindle Book Review 2013 semi-finalist in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category. I subsequently published the other two novels in the trilogy (Vendetta Nation and Redemption) in 2013 and 2014, respectfully. In 2016, I published The Living and The Dead, another dystopian novel, which will most likely turn into a series of its own.

How many books do you currently have published? I have four others books aside from The Living and The Dead, including a sci-fi/dystopian trilogy (Engima Black, Vendetta Nation, and Redemption) and a short story (A Second Chance) in the paranormal genre.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why? I would say Enigma Black, solely because it was my first book.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release? Yes, I’m parting ways with the dystopian genre for a bit and am in the middle of a contemporary romance entitled When Time Stands Still. I’m currently 50k words into it and hope to release it sometime late 2017 or early 2018.

What do you enjoy most about writing? I’m not great at expressing myself verbally and find that writing is the best way for me to express my thoughts and feelings. I also like the idea of being able to right wrongs and create worlds and situations in which readers can both relate and be entertained.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? All the time. I think my writer’s block is more the product of self-doubt and striving for perfection than lack of content. I begin to doubt my abilities and over think things, which inevitably leads to frustration. To counteract this, I remind myself that the first draft is never perfect and to just write. I find that this invariably steers the ship in the right direction.

Have you ever had one of your characters take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? Of course, I think that happens more often than not for writers. In particular, there is a character from the Enigma Black trilogy who I grew more attached to than any of the other characters (excluding the main character). In fact, I grew so attached to him that I thought about completely changing the ending I’d always planned for the trilogy as the original ending broke my heart.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Why? Zaila Lockhart from The Living and The Dead and Celaine Stevens from Enigma Black. Both are strong, independent women who stand up for what they believe in, even if it goes against the grain.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? Probably the ending scenes in Redemption, as they signified the end of a long and rewarding road for me.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers? I’ve learned that there’s always room for growth and improvement, and that I need to quit being so hard on myself. My tip to any future or new writers is to follow your dreams. Don’t get bogged down by the negative reviews (as they happen to everyone). Learn from your mistakes and keep pushing yourself.

If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why? It depends. Since my books are essentially all in the same genre, I would probably recommend that if the reader is looking more for a young adult book that they start with The Living and The Dead, and if they want a more mature read, they should go for Enigma Black.

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books and television shows? Movies? I like to read the same genre I write, dystopian novels with a hint of romance. As far as movies and television, I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead, Outlander, Orange is the New Black, and consider myself a bit of a Star Wars nerd.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? Insightful, frustrating at times, but always rewarding in the end.


Science Fiction Spotlight: The Days After – Big River by J. Richardson


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Dystopian, Science Fiction


the days after big river

Clay started his day as normal, on the wide river in the fascinating city of New Orleans. By the time the owner of the paddle wheeler, Annie Belle, had returned the morning tour passengers to shore, it was apparent that something was very wrong. What disaster could have caused such chaos on the shore? His instinct sends him right back to the safety of the river he loves.

The captain’s long time friend and assistant, Louis, leaves on a desperate mission to gather his wife and son, with a promise to catch the big paddle wheeler up river. Clay’s newest crew member, the tour hostess, Angel and her small daughter have no option but to remain onboard.

In the days after, as the new and changed world is revealed, the four new friends and the two children will travel a perilous journey. Up two mighty rivers and nearly a thousand miles, they will work together to reach the haven of Clay’s brother’s farm. Will the river defeat them or be their savior?

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Excerpt:

Muddy colored sheets of water spilled over, frothed into a creamy foam where the blades dipped into the churning current. The paddle wheel pushed the two-level boat along the big river. William Clay Allen, the owner and operator, guided the vessel with both hands on the polished wooden ship’s wheel, he smoothly navigated the waterway that he was so familiar with. Clay did not wear the suit of a captain; he wore his denim jeans, a long sleeve navy blue T-shirt and canvas boat shoes. His dark blue cap snugged down on a head of thick black hair and was lettered Annie Belle, the cap shaded a face that was pleasantly weathered and tanned. Dark brown eyes were hidden behind aviator style sunglasses and watched cautiously as the shoreline approached.

Graceful blue letters repeated the name Annie Belle on the sides of the long boat that was freshly painted white. Below the name, was New Orleans, La. This craft was not the huge commercial type that carried hundreds of visitors along the river for dining and touring, sometimes even over night excursions. This well-maintained riverboat never carried more than twenty five tourists, either on the three hour early trip that included a light brunch or the afternoon trip that offered sandwiches and snacks. The many windowed cabin area on the first deck was encircled with a walkway and rails. If you took the narrow stairs to the second level, you walked out onto a flat deck with a strong safety rail. The small wheel house, the control cabin, sat next to the stairway at the bow of the boat. A framework stretched from the boat’s bridge to the aft and a heavy canvas top could be rolled out to cover it. Mounted at the opposite end of the deck was a viewing scope that allowed observation of activity on and around the river. A long row of wooden benches, facing back to back, with ornate wrought iron backs and legs were bolted down in the center of the deck. Freshly painted black, they were not very comfortable but did give the passengers a place to sit and have a high perch view. The Annie Belle was not a fancy hulking cruise boat; it was Clay’s livelihood, his life and also his home.

For the last hour or so, as the morning tour came to an end and the boat glided back into the busier area along the river, Clay noticed that something was different. The day was bright and clear and the usual waterway traffic passed him by, on the land…what was it? It was very still, the heavy land traffic was not in motion. In the lulls between the noise of barges and tugs and towering freighters, he could hear occasional shouts and car horns that honked from the shore, but he saw no movement other than hazy figures that scurried around. He picked up the hand held walkie-talkie and spoke into it, “Louis, could you come up to the helm? Hey, bud, are you there…would you come forward please?”

The radio crackled and then a voice, “Gotcha’ boss. I’ll be up shortly.”

More and more folks stood upon the decks of the assorted boats that passed in both directions and looked out with curiosity at the shore. He was seeing some vessels that seemed to be stopped silent in the water. Clay maneuvered the paddle wheeler with skill, they would be at the long pier that allowed his passengers to disembark in about twenty minutes.

A short stocky man with cocoa colored skin, stepped into the small space that housed the ship’s wheel and controls and Clay. He wore jeans, a T-shirt and dark blue cap just like his friend and boss. “What’s up, you think? It looks like a power outage or something in the city. Weird thing though, I don’t see any vehicles moving.”

“Yeah-h,” said Clay. He took his sunglasses off and scanned the bright blue skies, “I don’t see any storm clouds. It’s clear as a bell today.” The sunglasses went back on, “Well, we will be at the dock shortly. Go ahead and help Angeline get the passengers off.”

“Okay, we will find out what’s happening when we get there, huh?” Louis smiled and moved towards the cabin area.

Elizabeth Angeline Babin Cook stood behind the bar and wiped vigorously at the polished top. Her auburn hair was piled up in a tousle of curls on her head, a circle of comb teeth secured the curls and made neat rows in her shiny tresses. Thick lashes covered her amber colored eyes as she looked down at the job she was intent on. Her slim figure looked pleasing in the same jeans as her boss and her co-worker and she wore the appropriate canvas boat shoes. No T-shirt however, a soft navy blue blouse was tucked neatly in her jeans. Gold hoops dangled from her ears, a small cross on a chain was at her neck, no wedding ring or any rings on her fingers and a Timex watch circled her wrist. Louis’s wide hand slapped the bar and made her jump.

“Angel, we are close to port. Let’s round ‘em up, girl.” Several of the morning tourists peered out the windows, and a few sat at tables and munched on cookies from a round tray of assorted sweets. A small girl with hair the beautiful color of her mother’s, popped up from a stool behind the bar. A tiny pair of glasses rested on her turned up nose, she removed them and laid them on top of the sketch pad where she had been engrossed in drawing.

“Louis!” she grabbed him around his knees.

He lifted the petite beauty and gave her a hug, “Hey there, Allie girl. How’s my baby today?”

Louis sat her down and announced in a smooth voice with just a touch of a cajun accent, “Okay, folks, we will soon be at the dock. Be sure to gather all of your belongings and prepare to disembark.”

Angel looked down at her daughter, “Put all your supplies in your backpack, honey. Do you need to make one last restroom visit?” The little girl skipped towards the bathroom on the opposite side of the cabin, her loose bright printed top flounced around. She didn’t like clothes that fit her body close; she would tolerate jeans with an elastic waist and she liked the slip-on canvas shoes.

The foghorn blared out as the Annie Belle slowly edged next to the long pier. The murky water lapped against the heavy pilings. The wooden pier would take the tourists all the way into their towering luxury hotel that had a view of the river from every room. The passengers looked around curiously, they noticed that something was not quite right, but they moved up the long pier towards the hotel. Louis and Angeline, now Clay stood and told them thanks for coming and have a nice day. It was just the normal thing, the routine. As the people walked away from the ship, they gazed around, questioning and confused.

Angel had been busy until they docked, she stood by the rail and scanned the shore. Now she noticed the chaos. No cars moved around and it was clear that many had slammed into others, steam and smoke spiraled up in dozens of places and she saw an actual fire or two that blazed. People ran in all directions, shouts and a few panicky screams could be heard rising above the sea of dead autos. She heard no sirens, where was the fire department…the police? Allie dashed out and tugged at her hand. Her daughter was only five but very precocious, “What is it, Mommy? Is there a bad car wreck?”

She pulled the little body up next to her. “Maybe,” she answered with a doubtful voice. She looked at Louis and over to Clay, the question in her eyes, “My god, what….”

Clay only hesitated for a moment, “Louis, I think we need to get back out into the bay, away from the shore.” He turned to move to the helm and Louis immediately turned to follow.

Angel said, “Hey, wait, we need to get home. We need to get off…” her voice trailed away as she looked back at the mass confusion on the shore and wondered, how would they get home to their tiny apartment.

Clay turned and said, “Angel, I don’t think that would be a good idea right now. Let’s get back out on the river and I can get you closer to home, by the waterway.” He hurried on towards the helm and Louis moved to pull up anchor and untie the moorings.

Angel stood in stunned silence until she felt the slight roll of the deck. She snapped to and led Allie into the cabin. What in the world could be happening? This was just crazy. She tried not to let her little girl see how frightened she was. Rather nonchalantly, Allie sat down on the carpeted floor, took off her backpack, pulled out her art pad and placed her glasses on her nose.

Clay eased the long vessel away from the land. He could not be one hundred percent certain, but he was not near as baffled as his pretty new bartender slash hostess about what might have happened. Angeline had just come to work on the boat a couple of weeks earlier. It was early and the season would get busier. He and Louis just could not do everything, especially the small hospitality and courtesy things that folks expected. She seemed to be smart and competent, not to mention nice to look at. He didn’t mind sweet Allie being on board, at all. If her mother didn’t have to pay child care, it made him feel not so guilty about her mother’s small paycheck,

The boat slipped ever so slowly along, he noticed no break or change in the havoc on the land. His mind recounted the many times his brother Daniel…old doomsday Dan, he called him…had lectured and raved about the various scenarios that would change the world or worse, end the world. Dan was absolutely sure that this below sea level, coastal city was not the place to be. He was sure that the ocean levels would rise and take out all the coastal cities in the world. Every apocalyptic event from the financial collapse of America to massive earthquakes filled the brother’s list of possible catastrophic happenings. Even though, Clay and Dan and their parents had always lived on or near the river in Louisiana, the paranoid brother had moved away from the Gulf Coast, about three years earlier.

A believer, a “Prepper”, Dan relocated to a small community in South Dakota that was very near the Missouri River. The Missouri flows right into the Mississippi River and Dan said, “When the S—hits-the-fan, you can navigate all the way to my place. That’s why I chose a place south of the locks and dams on both rivers.” A software developer, he worked from home, which was his several acre farm and built up his supplies and preparations for the doomsday event that he was confident would come. He never gave up and tried consistently to persuade Clay to leave the coast.

The expert hands barely moved the handles that extended from the wooden wheel. Just as Louis walked up beside him, he thought, Well, old Dan, I am afraid one of your nightmares has finally come true. The man didn’t say anything to his boss, just waited for him to speak.

Clay let his breath out in a long exhale and shook his head, “I think that crazy old Dan might have not been so crazy, my friend. Something way out of the norm has happened. When the vehicles go dead, it’s electrical…like the whole electric grid is down. Only certain things would affect the cars, anything computerized. It could have been natural, like a solar flare or it could have been man made, an EMP. It may have been deliberate, intended to do just what it did, knock out the electric grid, cripple the world.”

In amazement, Louis stared into the face of his friend, “You mean everywhere!”

“Maybe not everywhere, on the other hand, possibly not just America but the world. We won’t know for a while, something is very bad wrong. I do know that.” said Clay.

Louis took off his cap and slapped it on his leg. “I trust you, you know that. If this is possible, I have to get Penny and Jacob. I am going to take the dinghy and head back down river.”

Clay said, “It’s going to get more and more dangerous out there, Louis. You take plenty of fuel and get your wife and boy, catch back up with us. I will move as slow as I can and stop if I can, I will be watching for you.” They clasped hands in a tight shake. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a key to a padlock, “Take that .38 and ammo from the gun closet. You be careful and stay safe.”

“Clay, what about Angel and the girl?” said Louis.

“No way that I could put her on the shore, not until we see what the situation really is. She will have to stay on board for now,” he replied.

The friend smiled, “Good boy. You stay safe and I will see you upriver.”


About the Author:

j richardson

J.Richardson was born in what she refers to as her beloved Texas. She has lived there all of her life and raised her family. Her children, grandchildren and one great-grandchild are scattered across the state. These days, she and her husband of 47 years, split their time between home and their summer cabin in Colorado.

Her first e-book was published this year. A life filled with rich experiences and small adventures has been the inspiration for her writing. Much of that experience derived from the partnership with her spouse in building four homes in four different locations, from scratch; from a log house in the woods of east Texas, to a lakehouse and a farmhouse, and finally, the cabin in Colorado. J. says that she is a fascinated observer of people and their endless diversity. She believes the internet is an amazing source of information and her favorite part of writing is the research.

A pen name claims ownership of her fiction writings because they are often close facsimiles of her friends and family. She admits, however, they are just as often, products of her imagination and characters she has known. The author’s favorite reads are mystery and humor, lately her passion and interest is in the fictional and real life details of prepping for disaster. She quotes, “I have strong political and patriotic views, but try to avoid them in my novels because anger is not my forte’. I always look forward to hearing from my readers.”

Connect with J. Richardson:

Website

Email richardsonjo66@gmail.com


Christian Fantasy Spotlight: The Stonegate Sword by Harry James Fox @Foxwarepub


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Christian Fantasy, Dystopian, Adventure and Romance


the stonegate sword

Stonegate #1

BRONZE MEDAL winner in the 2016 Global Ebook Awards in the Fiction – Fantasy/Alternate History category.
Winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Summer, 2016 “Best Book in the Category of CHRISTIAN FANTASY.”
Award-Winning Finalist in the “Fiction: Religious” category of the 2015 International Book Awards

Do you love historical fiction, knights in armor and romance? How about a tale with all of these set in future North America? Escape to a passionate world of danger, love, war and redemption — the world of Stonegate.


The Old Empire is gone

But tales still tell of marvels from long ago-flying machines and devices run by the power of lightning. Now grass grows in the streets and rusted hulks are all that remain of the proud machines. A new time of troubles now threatens. The free towns of the rugged mountains and plains are in the path of conquest. The Prophet’s armies are coming, filled with hatred and armed with terrible, rediscovered weapons. Donald of Fisher, outcast and alone, is in the path of the march, searching for Rachel, who has been captured by the Raiders-minions of the Prophet. But how can he find and rescue one small captive in a wilderness teeming with enemies? And even if he succeeds, should he wield his sword beside the tiny band of defenders? Is Donald to become yet another victim, or is he, just possibly, the deliverer promised in prophecy? What can one person do in the face of a war that will shape the future of a continent?


Brilliantly crafted and epic in scope, this is a book you won’t want to put down!

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Excerpt:

Sweat trickled down Don’s dusty forehead and burned its way into his eyes. He rubbed at it with the back of an equally sweaty hand, accomplishing nothing. The coat of mail dragged at his shoulders, as did the iron-rimmed kite shield that bumped the back of his neck and the pack that hung at his side. His left hip was rubbed raw from the sword belt. Grimly, he toiled up the hill, using his ferruled spear as a staff, stepping in the footsteps of the man in front of him.
Short tufts of sedge and bluegrass gave a sparse green carpet to the slope. It also had shrubby clumps of cliff-rose and bitterbrush scattered lower down. A few scattered serviceberry bushes were in early bloom, their white blossoms bursting forth like living snowballs. A rock wren came up from behind them, perched a dozen yards ahead, then flew on without a sound. The hilltop, as he saw when they reached it, was also grassy but with several rock outcrops that came together along the northwestern face, forming a low cliff, perhaps eight feet high and thirty yards long.
A cool breeze blew in their faces as Gray John’s troop crossed over to the far side of the hilltop where they could look toward the south. They saw a steep hill below them, nearly free of trees, but the valley below had a willow thicket that partially hid a stream. Further south, a thick forest of spruce and fir flanked a ridge that rose sharply up but not nearly as high as the point on which they stood. At their frosty-haired leader’s order, they dropped their equipment in a line on the east side of the level crest, and wearily sank to the ground nearby.
Told to rest, Don was only too glad to obey. Just before he dozed off in a cat nap, he saw a scattered line of skirmishers forming lower down the hill to the south and west, helms shining in the morning sun, war spears in their hands.
The nap was not a long one, and great shouts awakened him. He jumped to his feet along with the rest of the Red Axes, who quickly formed a line just below the crest of the hill. Gray John calmly organized their placement, and then they waited. But no Raiders were anywhere to be seen, no matter how hard they looked.
But somehow the black conifers gave a hint of an unnatural presence on the far side of the valley. Perhaps it was his imagination, but the jays that scolded someone or something unseen gave rise to that feeling. Then he heard that the keen-eyed scouts below had seen something at the wood-line, like many men moving, and the air hung heavy with tension.
Without further warning, with a shrill cry and a blast of horns, a dark wave of men exploded from the dark woods below. Quickly fording the small stream, they loped across the narrow floor of the valley like a pack of wolves scenting a blooded prey.


Youtube Book Trailer:


 


About the Author:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Harry James “Jim” Fox has ridden horseback over much of the landscape that appears in his novels, since he was born and raised on a ranch in western Colorado. His love of horses and ancient/medieval weapons, as well as his military training (US Army Command and General Staff College, Air Force War College) make his discussion of military matters (ancient and modern) gripping and credible.

His first book, “CrossCurrents” was a finalist in the International Book Awards competition.
His novel, “The Stonegate Sword” was an Award-Winning Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards Competition. It also is a 5-Star rated book by Reader’s Choice.

He has a B.S. and M. S. from Colorado State University, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, a Ph.D. in Theology, and has served as an army officer, natural resource manager, counterintelligence agent, pastor, missionary and seminary teacher. He currently serves as an elder of Calvary Baptist Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Jim was raised in a Christian home. He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior in 1949 (age 7) at an old-fashioned tent revival. A few years after his marriage to Carroll, his wife of nearly 47 years, both became active in a small church in Arizona, and have actively served Christ together ever since.

His novel, The Stonegate Sword, wan the bronze medal in the “Fiction: Fantasy/Alternate History” category of the 2016 Global eBook Awards.

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Horror Book: The Warring Dead (In the Time of the Dead, #2) by David Monette @PaintWriteDave


Disclosure: This post contains compensated affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Click here to read more.

Warring_Dead_ebook_cover

Genres: Horror, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian


Blurb:

The zombie holocaust has come, and there is no place that is truly safe.

Four intrepid survivors, Sasha, Terrance, Virgil, and the little girl, Max, have escaped their island stronghold, only to find themselves in the arms of what is left of the worlds military forces just when a showdown is imminent between the armies of undead and the combined might of the human race.

From the mountains of Northern New York, to the shores of the Potomac, the battle is joined. Trapped in its net, the island survivors must learn more of their enemies, their allies… and the strange nature of one of their own.

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Excerpt:

The breeze whistled softly through the broken window. In a lonesome, uncaring way, it played along the edges of papers and leaves that its more violent cousins had swept into corners or under the rows of school desks that filled the classroom. Rambunctious in its innocence, it tousled through the room’s scattered hopes and the dreams they had ensnared, and went off down the gray hallway and into other vacant rooms as though racing the footsteps of morning’s light.

At the entrance to the building, the zephyr gathered strength, drove itself, defiant and free, through the unclosed double doors, and out, out, out, over a schoolyard choked with weeds, with grass no mower would ever touch, with rusting swing-sets, with unused toys… and with the undead.

For they were there.

Shambling about in their thoughtless way, their eyes vacant pools containing a mystery no sane person could ever plumb, these human shells moved through the debris of their former lives like sleepwalkers that would never wake. They were all ages, all sexes, and of all different body sizes. The smallest, a petite redheaded girl of around two years of age, staggered aimlessly along with the rest, her chin hanging slack and useless over the torn stem of her neck. Beneath this, covering the cold flesh of her torso, were the rags of a bloodstained summer dress that roughly one year ago, before the rising of the dead, had been new.

Had she been living, she would have been a cute kid. So went Virgil’s thoughts as he, along with two other people, lay studying the undead from the shade of a wood line, one hundred yards distant, where the land rose slightly to form a natural observation platform. The heavily muscled man and his compatriots wore military helmets and were dressed in loose, green, camouflage clothing worn over a tighter fitting layer of leather that encased their bodies from neck to foot. The camouflage was needed to help shield them from sight, and the leather was needed to help shield them from the infectious bites of the undead, bites that would, in a matter of minutes, turn any living person into one of the aforementioned undead.

Virgil kept the little girl in the telescopic sights of his MP5SD sub-machine gun. From there, she looked different… better. She was a target. Not someone’s little girl. Not a precious little thing that someone had held, rocked, sung to, and played with, whose hair smelled like peaches and whose smile could turn the day bright and new. None of that. Through the hard, round tube she was a thing. Or at least it made it easier to see her that way. It helped him to do what he had to do.

He flicked the safety off.

His finger squeezed the trigger… gently, gently.

For some reason, she stopped, and turned her back to him. The breeze caught her shining hair and lifted it slightly, her back and arms were smooth and white like marble in the sun.

Breathe evenly.

Don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’t…

Pause the next breath…

With a suppressed hissing punch, the 9mm hollow point round burst from the barrel of the weapon and struck the girl’s skull a quarter of a second later. There was an explosion of blood and brain matter, skull and hair, and without another sound, she returned to the earth where she belonged. 


Portrait 72dpi

 

About the Author:

David Monette was born and raised in the cold rural hinterlands of upstate New York. As a typical kid in a typical community, life for him was pretty… typical. He liked to draw creatures and contraptions but as the second born of four sons, such ability was merely a convenient way of standing out from the crowd. As he inexpertly stumbled through high school, his talent for capturing the images in his head onto paper was noticed and encouraged by both teachers and family members.

Without any other idea of what to do with himself after graduation, besides a vague idea of doing something art oriented, he decided to attend Mohawk Valley Community College where he received his associate’s degree in Advertising Design and Production. Acting on excellent advice from his teachers at this institution, he went on to Syracuse University where he learned a great deal about art and eventually wound up with a bachelor’s degree in Illustration.

With a disturbingly large amount of student debt and a decent portfolio, he learned what it was to be a starving artist. Namely, he found that artists don’t starve; they simply pick up an endless series of part time work to pay the rent while continuing to plug away at their true passion. This was essentially what he did until he received his first illustration job and from that point on, he didn’t look back. As an illustrator, his highly detailed fantasy and science fiction work has appeared in many books, magazines, board games, and collectible card games for such varied publishers as Dell Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, and Atlas Games. Initially, he had completed these diverse projects utilizing oil and acrylic paints as well as pen and inks.

As digital technology continued to improve, however, he decided it was time to tackle the arduous task of mastering the computer and eventually figured out a way to adapt his style to a digital format. With this knowledge and experience, he went back to school and received his master’s degree in Illustration from the University of Hartford. While there, his instructors reviewed his written work and had strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path.

And at the end of this arc, an author was born.

 

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Featured Dystopian: The Toucan Trilogy by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott


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After a lethal pathogen introduced by a comet attacks the hormones of puberty, nearly all of the world’s adults die. Abby helps her brother and baby sister survive the apocalyptic nightmare, only to face the biggest threat of all: the deadly time bomb of adolescence.This bestselling dystopian series has over 500 5-star reviews.

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About the Author:

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Scott Cramer has written feature articles for national magazines, optioned a screenplay, and worked in high-tech communications. The Toucan Trilogy –Night of the Purple Moon, Colony East, and Generation M– are his first novels. Scott and his wife have two daughters and reside outside Lowell, Massachusetts.

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